When COVID-19 first happened a lot of companies globally were forced to work from home. There was not much time to prepare and ask questions about working from home. We were told to take our computers and somehow keep doing what we were doing, just from home.
For most companies the shift was quick and it took a couple of months before we all figured it out. Now that we have been living and working like this for over a year, more companies are debating whether working remotely could continue to benefit them.
With that being said a lot of questions about remote work arise. The main one that pops up is around communication. Unlike the office, you can’t read body language, messages that get passed around become a game of Chinese whispers. Once you enter that path, it can lead to the following:
- Lack of cohesion between team members
- Low engagement levels
- Crumbling company culture
- And so on.
Managers must acknowledge being up against challenges you may not have experienced before and must change how you operate so that your entire team can work productively. If you’re not sure which questions to ask about remote work, begin by being able to answer and understand the questions about remote work outlined below.
We look at the ten most pressing questions about remote work and answer them below.
How Do I Ensure Employees are Ready to Work from Home?
First, you must make sure the correct infrastructure is in place in order for your team to reach its goals. If employees are sent home without a clear plan, they are left with chaos and uncertainty. In addition, you will be asked questions about working from home on a daily basis. Therefore, have a game plan for the following:
- Does your team have the necessary technology or access to it?
- Which employees have a company laptop? For those with a company laptop, do they have all the software and tools needed to work?
- For employees without a company laptop or even a smartphone, how can you be sure they have access to all the necessary resources to do their job?
Managers need to efficiently and quickly ensure that every team member has direct and full access to corporate documents and information so that no one is left behind.
This is where an employee management app is golden.
Connecteam’s employee management app allows you to complete everything you need for your team to achieve excellence and remain engaged, even while working remotely. From group chats, reports, task management, and so many more features to keep your company moving forward. Employees can access the app from any device and from any location. Your team will always have access to company information even without being in the physical office. Your team can use the chat to ask any questions about remote work, whenever there is a need.
Connecteam puts you at the top, managing your team again. Add protocols, company documents, reports, answers to questions about remote work, and so much more in real-time to your personal company app.
In just a tap, you can:
- send real-time company updates
- a message from the CEO
- positive customer reviews
- birthday shoutouts
- operational updates
- start a live poll (a fun one like voting on the best sitcom or more serious like learning everyone’s thoughts on working from home)
- introduce protocol libraries and guidelines while overseeing execution with “read and sign” reports
- introduce dedicated reporting channels and automate the information flow
- share resources and train your team with dedicated templates and media capabilities to share videos, text, files, and images
With Connecteam, your employees will feel connected to their entire team. It’s the app that keeps giving. With its many functions, you’ll keep discovering new techniques that keep your team together and engaged.
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How do I Ensure Employees Adjust to Working from Home?
Working from home can be quite an adjustment for some. Employees might have been working in the office for many years and could be nervous about the challenges of working remotely. However, those questions about remote work can easily be cleared up by explaining that the team will still work together. You should stress that the only difference is that everyone is spread out, rather than being in one office
You need to ensure that you are there, approachable at every turn with a virtual open-door policy, and that process is consistent throughout remote work.
Based on the study below, you can see that employees do have genuine concerns about remote work. Like unplugging or feeling lonely. As a manager, as their manager, you need to help them get through this.
Don’t be afraid to ask your employees what would make them feel more comfortable while working from home? Check that you have answered all their questions about working from home. It could be as simple as a check-in in the morning. Below is a list of a couple of things you could implement when starting out:
- Set a working schedule encouraging employees to switch their computers off once the day is over. This seems simple but as they are at home, they may feel inclined to continue working after hours and in turn overworking themselves.
- Encourage breaks and taking walks so your team doesn’t feel sluggish and can get some fresh air.
- Help your employees create a proper workspace and not just working from their bed or couch. This will separate work life from home life.
- Set times for informal work meetups to keep the team morale up and encourage engagement. Like a Friday night happy hour or a Monday morning coffee break.
- Advise dressing up a little and not sitting in pajamas to differentiate work from home life.
- Create a to-do list
- Make your lunch the night before.
How Often Should I, as a Manager, Check-in with My Employees?
Start with a daily chat with the entire team to align on what each team member is working on and raise questions about working from home. Use solutions like Zoom or Skype to video chat and solutions like Connecteam or Slack to message in real-time.
94% of managers are holding meetings with each employee separately to better understand how they are getting on with their jobs. You should prepare the questions in advance so that you don’t go off-topic. Remember that when employees are working from home, you can’t read body language. Set up video calls so that your employee might feel more open to talk about any issues that are bothering them. Also, it’s always nice to see a friendly face instead of just a blank screen.
Find what works best for you. By doing so, you are on top of everything and you can know if an employee needs extra support. Change the frequency of the check-ins as needed, but remember that more is better than less.
And don’t just check in on work-related matters, again it’s important to cover any questions about working from home. Have a virtual happy hour or a coffee break together. All this keeps the team connected!
How do I ensure my workers don’t suffer from burnout?
Before you can worry about your workers, you need to ensure you yourself are in a good place mentally. Your workers are looking for routine and consistency even when working from home. By ensuring that you take care of yourself, you can lead your team better. In addition, you can be the best manager when your team needs you.
You should be on top of everyone’s schedules, knowing what they are working on. You need to ensure that just because workers are in their workspace they don’t work well after hours. By doing so, you can ensure that burnout doesn’t happen.
One of your questions about remote work may be, so how can I spot burnout? If your employee is used to producing a lot of work and then productivity has slowed down, you need to question why? Your employee may be taking off a lot more sick days because they are simply exhausted. They are no longer excited about their work, and you notice many unusual mistakes.
You need to check-in before any of your employees reach this point. You need to set up work times, and then it’s rest time. You could ask questions about working from home that include their exercise routine. You can then advise workers to exercise or take up a hobby for some evenings, to have something other to focus on than work.
For a healthier and more productive workforce, you should advise your team to incorporate more healthy foods into their diet. When working from home, it’s easy to pick up snacks instead of a proper meal. Junk food might give a quick sugar high, but then it leads to an all-time low. A nutritious meal can provide slow energy to keep you going throughout the day.
How Do I Keep Everyone Engaged?
The questions about working from home usually involve engagement because it’s a subject that everyone wants to nail. So don’t skip the watercooler talk. In the last point, we highlighted holding a virtual happy hour or lunch break, but don’t forget to reach out to each team member individually. This helps them feel connected and less isolated.
When your team isn’t following the traditional 9-to-5 workday, use chit-chat to your advantage. This will show everyone that you value socialization and human interaction way more than the bottom line.
A virtual “watercooler” creates a fun space for your team to engage with one another. Encourage your employees to chat like they’re in a regular office environment – from life updates, movies or TV shows, interesting news, and anything in-between. Additionally, we recommend you engage in team-building activities to further build relationships.
Will Productivity Go Down?
Productivity shouldn’t go down at all. It can easily be maintained and even strengthened because those pesky office distractions are gone. And your team isn’t stressed with their morning commute.
Other questions about working from home should entail family life. Even if you’re working at home with your kids or partner, that can all be worked out to your advantage. For example, talk to your boss and create a game plan with your partner that works best for everyone.
Managers should not let problems spiral out of control either, tackle issues head-on so that productivity isn’t affected.
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How Do I Ensure Boundaries Aren’t Crossed?
As we hinted above, some of your employees might have kids at home because they’re not well or daycare isn’t an option right now. Due to the pandemic, some schools are still working via Zoom. If that’s the case, it shouldn’t change your attitude towards those employees, you just need to find a happy medium. You can do this by making sure you have covered and answered any questions about working from home.
We recommend that you allow for more flexibility in their schedule. For example, your employee doesn’t have to start work at 9 AM sharp or eat lunch at 12:30. Instead, allow your employees to be more fluid with their schedule and you need to trust that they’re doing their very best to get the job done.
In fact, we recommend that policy for your entire team and not just the parents.
How Do I Help my Employees with the Challenges They’re Facing?
Be sure to ask your employees if they’re facing any challenges so that you can find out if something isn’t working and how they’re getting on. Allow your team to share big and small wins so that you have an opportunity to recognize all their hard work. Saying thanks and giving them a personal shoutout can go a long way to boosting engagement.
Is My Employee’s Job Role Clear Enough?
Make sure your employee is clear on their job role so that they know how to achieve goals. Once they know what they are working towards they will be encouraged to do more.
Make sure to check in with your employees on a regular basis to ask how they are doing. You can also ask them if they require extra support over their role.
Don’t hesitate to encourage both their professional and personal development. This type of experience leads to more commitment from your employees because they see that you care more and aren’t only focused on the paycheck.
How do I celebrate wins?
When workers are working from home they can feel isolated and suffer from loneliness. You should be asking questions about working from home that entail how they wish to celebrate wins. Celebrating wins can uplift the team as a whole and could improve productivity. Holding team meetings where you discuss the latest goals each team has achieved can give employees something to work towards. Employees will be excited as their hard work is being celebrated.
You could hold a happy hour on applications such as Zoom one hour before employees are supposed to finish their workday for the weekend. This could encourage employees to join in and have a bit of fun before their weekend begins. It puts everyone in a good mood and it’s a good way for team members to socialize together, even it’s remotely.
Celebrating wins can improve the overall mood of your employees and cuts any tension. If employees are happier it can improve productivity.
Summing Up Questions On Remote Work
Working from home doesn’t have to feel like building your team from scratch. Once you have put the methods in place, you can continue where you left off from the office. Adding new employees to the mix will be easier once you have the base.
Ensuring a healthy lifestyle of the right amount of work and home life can take a little adjusting to. Once you have it down, you will notice productivity won’t be affected wherever the workspace is!
Communication is key to keeping your team afloat! Using the correct tools can make all the difference, even without ensuring that you and your team meet at least once a week. Everyone should know what they should be doing.
Ultimately, employees need to feel engaged and happy to produce the best work. Add a fun element to your management style, and your team should be reaching their goals!
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